Lisbon, the city of the seven hills, is one of the oldest cities in the world. Julius Caesar made it a municipium called Felicitas Julia, adding to the name Olissipo. Lisbon was called many things over the centuries like Luxbona, Lixbuna or Ulixbone (hence the LX shorthand still used today). The city was ruled by a series of Germanic tribes from the fifth century, it was captured by the Moors in the eighth century. In 1147, the Crusaders under Afonso Henriques reconquered the city for the Christians and since then it has been a major political, economic, and cultural centre of Portugal. Walking is the best way to wander around in Lisbon, cross its narrow streets, enjoy the views on the top of its hills and mingle with the population. For longer distances, public transportation is fast and cheap.
The Bairro Alto is one of the most characterful and attractive neighbourhoods in Lisbon. Small restaurants, Fado houses, bars, pubs and Cafés as well as some unusual, expensive design shops and art galleries are all around the narrow streets, lanes and alleys. Bairro Alto is the heart of Lisbon's youth culture and nightlife.
Baixa and Chiado
Chiado is the cultural point of Lisbon and an el- egant shopping area with all sorts of facilities and street entertainment. Here you will find theatres,
bookshops, museums, restaurants and famous Portuguese fashion houses.
The Carmo area, next to the Chiado, has some of the most fascinating historical sites in the city, such as the Convent and Church of Carmo, which maintain their elegance and grandeur. Carmo is connected to the Baixa Pombalina by the Elevador de Santa Justa, another of Lisbon's icons. The Baixa is the city's downtown and tradi- tional shopping district. Rua Augusta is the main artery of the Baixa Pombalina leading north from Terreiro do Paço, to the beautiful Praça do Rossio (Praça Dom Pedro V).
Alfama is Lisbon's oldest district, spreading on the slope between the castle and the river. It has many important historical attractions, with many Fado bars and restaurants.
Overlooking Alfama is the mediaeval Castle of São Jorge, offering the best views of the city.
In the slopes of Alfama there several other ter- races (miradouros) from which to see the city, such as the Miradouro de Santa Luzia, near the church of the same name and the Miradouro das Portas do Sol.
Among the churches of Alfama are Lisbon's Cathedral - Sé, the oldest of the city, the Convento da Graça, the Monastery of São Vicente de Fora, and the baroque Church of Santa Engrácia, now the National Pantheon.
Belém is famous as the place from which many of the great Portuguese explorers set off on their voyages of discovery. In particular, it is the place from which Vasco da Gama departed for India in 1497.
Belém's most impressive monuments are Torre de Belém and the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos.
Located in the wings of the monastery are the National Archaeological Museum and the Maritime Museum. Belém's most notable modern features are the Padrão dos Descobrimentos and the Centro Cultural de Belém, an Arts complex, containing the Modern Art Museum Colecção Berardo. And you definitely can't miss the 1837's pastry shop, Antiga Confeitaria de Belém, where you can try the delicious custard tarts "Pasteis de Belém".
Parque das Nações
Parque das Nações is the area where our Venue is located. It was the site of the 1998 Universal Exhibition, which led to the urban development of this once industrial area. Impressive landmarks in this area are the Oriente Train Station, by San- tiago Calatrava, and the Vasco da Gama bridge, one of the longest bridges in Europe.
Places to visit in this area are the Oceanarium, the Casino, the Museu do Conhecimento (Science Museum). For an overview of the area, don't miss a ride on the cable cars.
A must see in the surrounding area of Lisbon is the village of Sintra, considered one of the most beautiful villages in the world. Its 19th century Romantic architecture is a UNESCO World Heri- tage Site. The train ride takes about 40 minutes from Rossio Station in the centre of Lisbon.
Sintra's main attractions include the fairytale Palacio da Pena and the Castle of the Moors, with a breathtaking view of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, the National Palace and the Quinta da Rega- leira. Another beautiful sight is the former fishing village Cascais, nowadays a popular vacation spot. Cascais can be reached by train from Cais do Sodré Station. You can visit the ruins of the Castle, the Sea Museum, as well as parks and the charming cobbled streets of the historic centre. Cascais is surrounded by popular beaches too, if you want to enjoy the sun.
Tips & Tricks
If you flew to Lisbon, you'll need to get to the city from the airport. It's not something that makes us proud, but you can get ripped off by Taxi Drivers if you take one at Arrivals. You can either take a Taxi from Departures instead, one floor above, or catch one of the Aero buses, which are fast and cheap. If your Hotel is in the City Centre catch the AeroBus 91. If it's near the Venue, catch the AeroShuttle 96. They both run about every 30min and will cost you €3,50. You can use this ticket on all the Carris network for the remainder of the day. If you came by train, then stop at Estação Oriente and you're already a stone's throw from the Venue.
The best way to roam about the city is to get a Lisboa Card which you can use in every kind of transport around the city and that will get you free admission to more than 80 museums and attractions. They cost €17 for 24h, €27 for 48h and €33.50 for 72h. Or you can get the 7 Colinas Card for 50 cents and charge a day fare onto it that will get you around in the Carris and Metro networks for €3.50. A single ticket is 90 cents on the subway and €1.40 in buses. Taxis are fairly cheap and will get you around the city for around €5 to €10 a ride. Be aware that they can charge you extra for carrying big luggage of if you called them on the phone (+351 218119000).
Mobile Cards and Data
You can get a SIM card from a lot of shops in Lisbon. The main networks are Vodafone, Optimus and TMN. A card will cost you about €10 but will include the same amount in calls, texts and data.
Data charges on this are usually €1 per day per 10MB. There is free unlocked Wi-Fi at the Venue (Hotspot: UXLX). Other than that, there are two main networks of Wi-Fi, the PT Wi-Fi which has many roaming agreements with other providers, so you can probably use it, and Fon which covers pretty much the entire city. There are several restaurants and coffee shops near the Venue offering free Wi-Fi. Just look for the sign near the window.
Don't have much time to get to know the city? Then the best way is to use the Sightseeing buses and trams. They run through all the sights in Lisbon and one of them even goes to Sintra for a half day. There's also a tram circuit which will drive you to the main hills of
Lisbon and departs from Terreiro do Paço. There are also cruises in the river Tagus running in the afternoon. They depart from Cais do Sodré boat station (next to the subway station).
If you're into dancing, you should go to the Docas near Alcantara, a cluster of Bars and Dance Clubs near the river. From Cais do Sodré subway station just grab a bus, tram or train. The hottest dance club in town is the Lux Frágil, near Santa Apolónia subway station.
If you're more into bars and roaming in the streets of old town, thengo to Bairro Alto. It can get a little messy particularly on the weekend but it's a lot of fun. If you want to experience genuine Fado, the city's traditional folk music, then go to Alfama. You'll find a lot of Fado houses near the top of the hill. Near the Venue you'll also find some great bars and dance clubs. Or if you're into it, why not visit the nearby Casino?
Safety and Healtcare
Lisbon is one of the safest cities in Europe, but we do have pick-pockets. As in any city, just be careful carrying your stuff in public transportation. Public healthcare is free if you come from within the EU, but you'll have to have your EU Health Card. If you run into any kind of trouble, the emergency number is 112.